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Feed: My Life in Curry

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Raquel Moss,

    Later during the trip, we took a cooking class in Udaipur, with a British couple who couldn’t STAND spicy food. We were pretty sure that people like them were the reason we couldn’t get a spicy enough dish from any establishment despite begging and pleading.

    That's just weird. Why would they take a cooking course if they didn't like the food?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    butter chicken [...] has a safe English name involving two ordinary Pakeha ingredients

    There's an amusing family anecdote about my grandparents being broadsided by "Butter Chicken" pies from their local dairy. Amusing to us; they were livid.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Doyle,

    My first experience of a decent curry would have been the Moti Mahal on the Cowley Road in Oxford, in the late 70's. Not there any more sadly, probably gentrified out of existence.
    The good old sausage curry is a regular in our household.
    Can anyone recommend a DECENT curry house on the Shore?

    Stillwater • Since Nov 2011 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    in this pale curry-free* land of eternal winter** I’m currently inhabiting

    I was vaguely aware that curry houses were a rarity in most parts of the US the last time I visited. It’s just that my friend Rael knew them all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    Big fat sultanas, with sliced banana and dessicated coconut on the side.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2527 posts Report Reply

  • Liam Keane,

    Glad you acknowledge the value of a decent curry paste, though the process of making one from scratch is very rewarding. Can't say as Pataks really delivers for me - would recommend Ferns curry pastes, have only tried the Biryani but oh goodness. Most Indian specialist food shops would have it. Memories of Auckland before real food was available? I remember going into a large dairy on Mt Eden Rd in 1990, not expecting to track down the mysterious spice known as cumin. Not on the shelves, but the owner seemed so happy at my request he went out back to the family kitchen and brought back a bagfull. Free. He knew I'd be back....

    Auckland • Since Mar 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    There’s something to be said for butter chicken. For many New Zealanders, it’s their first Indian experience. It has a safe English name involving two ordinary Pakeha ingredients and serves as a delicious introduction to the world of curry. A gateway drug!

    It is often all that is listed when an Indian restaurant's menu has a children's selection.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    I seem to recall sultanas being de rigueur in my granddad’s sausage curry.

    "Sultanas the size of boiled eggs" as I believe Terry Pratchett termed it.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    It is often all that is listed when an Indian restaurant's menu has a children's selection

    yep. so far, it's the only curry the wee man (5) will eat.

    i also make my own pastes and powders. do a mean ras hanout too.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    I love spicy food and a bit of chili heat but other than to prove your superiority what is the deal with eating food that hurts going in and apparently hurts going out

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 575 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    I've tried to recall my earliest experience of curry – apart form the sausage/sultana Edmonds Cookery Book variety – but I can't pinpoint it. All I know is that it was during the era when curries came in "chicken", "beef" and "vegetable".

    There is more variety in Indian curries now, but they still seem terribly homogenous. In Wellington at least, every Indian restaurant seems to have the same menu. There was a Kashmiri restaurant for a short while many years ago, but it didn't last long.

    We have a South Indian restaurant in Newtown (and it is really good), but even that seemingly has to include the whole range of familiar North Indian dishes on its menu.

    Are things different in other cities? Are there regional Indian restaurants?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I was vaguely aware that curry houses were a rarity in most parts of the US the last time I visited. It’s just that my friend Rael knew them all.

    Most big cities are OK - I've had decent Indian in Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and the bit of Connecticut where all the hedge fund people live, to name just a few - it's just that anywhere outside them Chinese and Thai are much more popular than Indian. There's even a fairly reasonable Korean place not ten minutes from me. But Indian food has never caught on in the same way it has in NZ, as far as I can tell. (Mind you, I am living in the part of the country where ginger is considered dangerously spicy in the traditional local cuisine, so.)

    Now I feel bad for posting pics of my chilis in this glorious neverending summer that Auckland has enjoyed :-)

    I'm holding out for a work visit to Seattle next week, where temps of 12C and rain are looking comparatively attractive. But, hey, the blizzard hitting Cape Cod tonight is only giving us an inch of snow, so...gradual improvement?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Anyone watching Rick Stein's Indian food show on Sunday nights? Great viewing as he tours round the country and makes me yearn for a foodie holiday! A couple of points of interest from the show are

    1. The word "curry" is problematic for Indian people. It doesn't mean anything to them as their cuisine is very much based on different regions, lacking an overall umbrella term. Rick spends the whole series asking the locals what the word means and getting various guesses (gravy!?) in reply.

    2. He mentions most of the Indian restaurants in London are actually run by Bangladeshi's with a Bengali emphasis.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    He mentions most of the Indian restaurants in London are actually run by Bangladeshi’s with a Bengali emphasis.

    It’s a kind of weird mix, because the dishes, by name, are mostly North Indian. But the dhansak I used to enjoy in Clapham was probably Bangladeshi. It’s a totally different dish when I’ve had it here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Would one of you people who cook up a mean sausage curry care to post a recipe?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But the dhansak I used to enjoy in Clapham was probably Bangladeshi. It’s a totally different dish when I’ve had it here.

    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that dhansak is Parsi, so probably originates from Mumbai or nearby.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    He mentions most of the Indian restaurants in London are actually run by Bangladeshi’s with a Bengali emphasis.

    As it was explained to me by a Bengali, Bangladesh and Bengal are essentially the same place divided by an arbitrary border.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • peter payne,

    Golden Curry was still there beside the Sainsburys when I departed my Clapham home to return to NZ 18 months ago.

    One slightly disappointing thing in the last few years was that many of the UK curry houses – including Golden Curry if memory serves' – had a décor makeover. Out went the old school regulation flock wall paper (just as flock got trendy again) and in came a neon and chrome vision of the 80's.

    My curry awakening was in London. When I left NZ in 1989 I do not recall many curries to be had in Wellington – let alone home town New Plymouth. I used to tell my mum I'd only be returning to NZ when there was a curry house on every other corner. Now there quite literally is......even within a hundred yards of my mums in NP.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Omar Crawford, in reply to Dan Horne,

    Can you recommend one or two? I was a big fan of the Sri Penang on K Rd before moving to the capital.

    If you like Sri Penang then you would have loved Satay Kampong. Sadly I hear that institution has recently closed down. My late dad Noel was a helluva of a chef (Aromatics smoked mushrooms anyone??) and he introduced me to Satay Kampong when he came to visit during my first year of university in Wellington. They had a weird little joint opposite Chaffers Park New World, in front of what I think was a brothel. At the back was an enormous photo of a German(?) castle that took up the whole wall.

    Their Roti Chanai was the best I've tasted and we used to go everytime dad came to town. They later moved around the corner to much flasher premises but the old man who cooked could still be seen through the kitchen door. I was pretty upset when I heard it had closed.

    Not sure where to go in Wellington these days that could compare. I'm partial to Satay Palace on Cuba street, less for the authentic flavours (it doesn't compare), more for the fact that when I walked in after three years away he remembered my order.

    Melbourne • Since May 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    Are things different in other cities? Are there regional Indian restaurants?

    Satya is South Indian, but as you say they have a few of the northern/Anglo Indian fall-backs just in case. There are a few good Sri Lankan places around: 7 Siri in Sandringham has excellent food (try the Lump Rice) but the service is indifferent; and there used to be a really good one in a dodgy foodcourt in East Tamaki, I forget the name.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Omar Crawford,

    My late dad Noel was a helluva of a chef (Aromatics smoked mushrooms anyone??)

    Oh no! I'm very sorry to hear of Noel's passing. I'd always stop and chat with him when he made it up to the Food Show in Auckland, and those chats could range quite widely. He was a reader of Hard News from way back.

    Your dad was a lovely bloke. What's happening with Aromatics now?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    My current passion are deep southern Thai curries. Blending together central Thai, Malay, Burmese and Southern Indian influences, they tend to be (although not always are) very dry, fragrant (as in northern Malay curries) and – sorry Raymond but this food needs it as it’s part of the complexity – blisteringly chili-hot.

    The Thai food served in New Zealand is usually Isaan derived (North East Thailand) and usually a bizarre Kiwi re-versioning of that to boot. I’ve not seen southern Thai cuisine anywhere.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3278 posts Report Reply

  • Omar Crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks Russell that's really nice to know!

    Aromatics is still going,. Luckily dad had a right-hand man he'd been working with for a while and one of my brothers is working alongside him now, so we are keeping the passion alive!

    I got back from overseas in time to cook a few meals with him before he got too ill.

    A kitchen full of love would be up there with civilisation's greatest joys.

    Melbourne • Since May 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black, in reply to Dan Horne,

    Little Penang on Dixon St for Chinese Malaysian, which is what most of the Malaysian places in Wellington are. I don't recall seeing any Malay places in Wellington.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What's the story to there being so many Malaysian restaurants in central Wellington?

    A so few in Sydney! However, Mamak in Chinatown is fantastic, the clue is the persistent queue (for visitors to Sydney).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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